The MDT Hindu College in the forties was a nest of singing birds! Whatever love and regard I have for Tamil literature, I owe to these scholars whose memorable and fascinating lectures and talks made a deep impression upon young minds like mine and which I can claim to be the formative influence in my literary life.
My forays in English translation began with the publication of my prose translations of 20 essays from Ilakkiya Pataku by the late Triloka Sitaram, a poet loved and venerated by those who knew him intimately. These were published in his bi-monthly magazine Shivaji.
And thence to the translation of Bharati's Sakthi Poems and prose-poems under the insistent prodding of Sekkizhar Adippodi T.N. Ramachandran, was the next step.
My work as a translator of the Canka Ilakkiya Porul Kalanciyam when I worked for over three years as Professor Emeritus in the Tamil University (an assignment for which I must thank Dr. V.I. Subramanian, the first Vice-Chancellor of the Tamil University), has further strengthened my acquaintance with Cankam literature.
I, however, do not claim to be a scholar in the Cankam Classics in the academic sense like any regular Tamil Professor, but my love for that wonderful. Body of literary work called Cankam literature has been intensified and strengthened by my stint in the Tamil University. It was thus I found myself one day translating Paripatal, one of the Eight Anthologies of the last Tamil Academy.
Perhaps, my love for Tamil is greater than my credentials as a translator. But I do not have any false modesty either. If I have succeeded to a considerable degree in what I have attempted to do, I must consider myself fortunate. I have followed the text closely and carefully, basing my version largely on the explanatory notes of Dr. U.V. Swaminatha Iyer in his invaluable edition of Paripatal. (Fifth Edition, published by the Dr. U.V. Swaminatha Iyer, Library, Madras, 1980).
I must record my debt to my friend and good companion and brother-translator Sekkizhar Adippodi T.N. Ramachandran without whose active encouragement and constant goading, I could not have completed this pleasant task.
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